Female MPs blast Boots for 'treating women like children' over morning-after pill cost
A prominent MP has accused Boots of treating women like children as campaigners piled pressure on the high street retailer to cut the cost of its morning-after pill.
Jess Phillips said the firm was "infantilising women" as the female parliamentary Labour party rallied around a campaign by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).
BPAS has made huge gains in its drive by pushing Tesco and Superdrug to halve the price of their emergency contraceptive pills - but Boots has so far resisted the calls.
According to Boots' chief pharmacist Mark Donovan, the firm is reluctant be accused of “incentivising inappropriate use”.
But campaigners - including top Tory MP Anna Soubry - hit out at the claim, with the women's PLP penning a letter to the firm to express their "deep concern".
“Boots is the largest high-street pharmacy in the UK, and 90% of the population lives within 10 minutes of one of their shops,” the letter reads.
“It is therefore completely unacceptable that British women have been paying up to £30 for a pill that costs a fraction of that to produce.
"The high cost of emergency contraception at Boots is preventing women from accessing it when needed.”
Birmingham Yardley MP Ms Phillips told the Guardian: “Boots’ justification infantalises women and places a moral judgment on them.
“Their pricing is clearly for commercial gain as Tesco and Superdrug have addressed this issue with sensible pricing.
“Women do not need to be disincentivised by Boots to make personal choices about their bodies. We women go to Boots for our products, not moral guidance.
“Public opinion is not on their side so if they are worried about complaints they are listening to the wrong voices and customers should vote with their feet.”
Ms Soubry - the MP for Broxtowe, where Boots HQ is based - also took aim at the company.
“Concern about adverse criticism from pressure groups seems a very strange reason not to do the right thing," she said.
“I am asking them for what reasons they are not reducing the cost of the morning-after pill given that other companies have reduced the charge. I urge them to reduce prices in accordance with their competitors.”
Tesco and Superdrug are now charging £13.50 and £13.49 for the contraception. Boots still charges £28.25 for the leading brand and £26.75 for their own version.
The morning-after pill is free of charge in GP surgeries, urgent care units and most NHS walk-in centres but only under specific circumstances.
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